“There are no plans to stop any of our services at Deal Hospital” – that’s the reassurance from Kent Community Health NHS Trust.
As the opening of the new Dover hospital nears, it has been announced minor injuries, physiotherapy and various clinics are among those which will remain at Victoria Hospital in London Road.
The trust, which delivers many services and whose contract is reviewed annually, has said it is actually doing more.
Community services director Karen Stone said: “There are no plans to stop any of our services. In fact community services are developing in Deal.
“We are working closely with our commissioners to continue to provide and develop community health care in Deal.
“This includes providing inpatient beds, rehabilitation, physiotherapy, community orthopaedic and nurse-led clinics at Deal Hospital, as well as the seven-day-a-week minor injury unit.
“Our intermediate care team is based at the hospital and is working closely with social services to co-ordinate health and social care services for local residents in their homes.
“We are working closely with Age UK in Deal on a pilot to support patients with dementia.
“In addition we are piloting a clinical co-ordinator role in Deal who is working with GP practices to support people so they do not have to go to an acute hospital and can be cared for in the community instead, which is going very well.”
An NHS South Kent Coast Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) document, dated February 2015, stated inpatient beds, anti-coagulation clinics and community orthopaedic services were safe for the time being.
Clinics for child health, paediatric speech and language therapy, cardiac counselling, diabetes, heart failure, leg ulcers and young person’s sexual health, will also all remain in Deal Community Clinic, which is in Deal Hospital grounds.
The CCG says work is in progress to increase outpatient services and revise the criteria to access the beds, and a draft flow chart and criteria have been developed for discussion.
They are also working with substance misuse services Turning Point to see if they can run clinics from Deal Hospital OPD.
They are developing supporting services in the community such as ophthalmology – glaucoma service (consultant supported) which will start shortly in Deal High Street opticians.
Other plans include mental health services, which are looking to expand their clinics and are visiting Deal Hospital to see if they can utilise the OPD space.
The new Dover hospital is believed to open in March of 2015, replacing Buckland Hospital on the Coombe Valley Road site.
East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust has not commented on what services it will continue to provide, nor has it confirmed the opening date for the new Dover hospital.